If you have been paying attention to the happenings in the world for the past while there has been a rise in anger, sexism, ageism, racism and a raft of other isms. I do not have an answer to this trend other than to say that none of these are new; they just seem to have gathered renewed energy and vociferousness. It seems that some people have a vested interest and an agenda aimed at raising the temperature of relationships in the world. All this negative energy will take us nowhere and do little more than serve the self-serving interests of a few ego-driven individuals while hurting and harming thousands of innocents.
However it may be, I do not want to get into the whys and wherefores. I would rather spend the little space available to me to talk about what we should be doing to get ourselves and those around us out of this bind.
It starts with that little, but hugely emotive, word called love. This is a much more potent and sustainable energy than almost any other.
“Love is in the air, with every sight and every sound” the song goes. There is so much of it around us that it is truly surprising that we do not pay more attention to it and the good it can do for all in the world……human and beast!
We would have great difficult living any quality of life without the enduring love and generosity of the Planet we live on. As far as we know it is the only one we can call home. It suffers the abuse we subject it to and just continues giving and giving and giving. This it has done for millennia. This is surely evidence of a greater love than most of us can imagine!
This all-encompassing love can also be seen much closer to home in the love of a mother for her child; in the unquestioning and unconditional love of a dog for its master or mistress. We do not have look far to find love in almost every element of our existence.
And yet, us humans seem to find it easier to fight, and rage and hate than to love. Love does not eliminate the challenges, the issues, the difficulties of co-existence but it gives us the compassion and patience to see beyond these to a purer, more sustainable, more exciting, and more peaceful future. This is what will provide the bridge that takes us beyond rage and racism, to the abundant basket of good that comes from people working together for the common good. This does not mean a placid acceptance of the differences between us, but it does mean that we can see how these differences can serve to strengthen us in ways unimaginable when our hearts and our heads are filled with hatred and suspicion. Love of our fellow travellers on this Planet will help us to turn the negative energy of antipathy, suspicion and hatred into the positive power of collaboration and collectivism.
It starts with opening our hearts to new possibilities, new relationships, to making friends out of strangers. Most of the difficulties in the world are because of our inbuilt suspicion of people that are different from us and have different norms values than those we espouse. This does not make them bad or evil, it just means they are different and there is much to learn from differences; indeed, almost certainly more than from the stuff we are already so familiar with that it has become background noise and automatic. It requires little thought. Things and people that are different cause us to give pause and to think about the difference and what they ultimately mean in our own lives.
Open hearts make space for renewal and regeneration. The opposite is true when their hatred and suspicion!
This first step leads to the second: How do we learn to embrace difference in a positive way. Surely it means sharing our own life experiences and how we got be who we are; as much as it means listening carefully and attentively to the stranger to begin to grasp his or her life experience.
It is the creation of this mutual understanding that will bring us to our shared humanity and in this kernel of understanding we will find the love that can change the world. Not the difference but our shared and common understanding and humanity.